In a world of competing IT initiatives and technology investment options, many Dynamics CRM projects are blessed early on with the right ingredients for success:
- Strong Executive Sponsorship
- Commercial Funding / Budget
- Creative Ideas and Hunger for Innovation
- Active and Engaged Stakeholders
How can we channel this enthusiastic support into a clear path of value-added deliverables?
- Start with a clear Vision. The executive leadership that sponsored and believes in this solution typically has very clear corporate or business objectives in mind when they approve the budget. Example vision statement: “Improve communication, productivity, and provide executive team with visibility to key sales performance metrics.”
This Vision statement should be a touchstone for the team throughout the project. Are the ideas and desired features being discussed aligned with the Vision?
- Rome was not built in a day – Create a Strategic Roadmap: Break down the Vision into smaller, discrete deliverables/objectives by actively engaging executive sponsors in reviewing and contributing to a milestone-driven roadmap that delivers incremental value based on agreed-upon priorities. For example:
- Phase 1 improves communication by building workflow to record sales in real-time within the CRM and allows Sales team to immediately begin using system to record activities.
- Phase 2 then delivers 5 key metric reports (Visibility) to management for sales-related data / performance (fed by the data collection functionality delivered in Phase 1)
- Clearly Define Scope / Deliverables for each Phase Release. With a powerful and highly configurable tool like Dynamics CRM, it’s easy to get distracted by the power of the tool and begin adding more features than originally planned. Although these will be valuable in the long-term, additional scope slows down delivery of the planned phase release cycle. By defining the deliverables up-front with buy-in from stakeholders and executives, it will be much easier to release the planned functions on-time.
Please Note – Good ideas that come up during a project should not be tossed aside. They can be recorded in Parking Lot for possible inclusion in the next phase. Sometimes it is important to change or add scope to a specific phase. In those cases, the change should be reviewed and approved by executive sponsor or Steering Committee to ensure any impacts to cost or schedule are clearly communicated and approved in advance.
- Embrace Governance: Form a Steering Committee made up of key executive sponsors and system owners. This group should meet regularly with the project team to help guide the creation of an appropriate roadmap, approve scope of each phased release, ensure buy-in from other parts of the organization, and be consistently kept abreast of project progress and risks.
This article was written by Juanita Schoen, Dynamics Project Manager for Tridea Partners. Tridea is a leading Microsoft Dynamics provider.